beginning of human life


Summary: The point at which religious ensoulment or PERSONHOOD is considered to begin.

Top Publications

  1. Lee P. The pro-life argument from substantial identity: a defence. Bioethics. 2004;18:249-63 pubmed
  2. Gómez Lobo A. On potentiality and respect for embryos: a reply to Mary Mahowald. Theor Med Bioeth. 2005;26:105-10; discussion 111-3 pubmed
    ..It follows that they are already persons essentially. ..
  3. Eberl J. Aquinas's account of human embryogenesis and recent interpretations. J Med Philos. 2005;30:379-94 pubmed
    In addressing bioethical issues at the beginning of human life, such as abortion, in vitro fertilization, and embryonic stem cell research, one primary concern regards establishing when a developing human embryo or fetus can be ..
  4. Stretton D. Essential properties and the right to life: a response to Lee. Bioethics. 2004;18:264-82 pubmed
    ..I argue that his criticisms of this alternative view are misguided or self-defeating, and that there are good reasons to hold we have a right to life accidentally rather than essentially. ..
  5. Wasserman D. What qualifies as a live embryo?. Am J Bioeth. 2005;5:23-5; discussion W10-3 pubmed
  6. Rini R. Of course the baby should live: against 'after-birth abortion'. J Med Ethics. 2013;39:353-6 pubmed publisher
    ..Hence, I conclude that Giubilini and Minerva have not demonstrated the permissibility of infanticide, or even great moral similarity between abortion and infanticide. ..
  7. Standish D. Italy: fertile ground for reform. Conscience. 2005;26:24-6 pubmed
  8. Howard J. The moral status of the human embryo according to Peter Singer: individuality, humanity, and personhood. Linacre Q. 2005;72:212-28 pubmed
  9. Burgess J. Could a zygote be a human being?. Bioethics. 2010;24:61-70 pubmed publisher
    ..The idea that we become human beings with the arrival of the inner cell mass leads to bizarre results however we choose to accommodate fission and fusion. ..

More Information


  1. Brown M. Moral complicity in induced pluripotent stem cell research. Kennedy Inst Ethics J. 2009;19:1-22 pubmed
    ..Moral complicity may be unavoidable, but a Blue Ribbon Panel charged with assessing the need for additional embryonic stem cell lines may ease a transition from embryonic stem cell research to clinical applications of iPS cells. ..
  2. Cameron C, Williamson R. In the world of Dolly, when does a human embryo acquire respect?. J Med Ethics. 2005;31:215-20 pubmed
    ..The authors examine the value of quickening or viability as alternative developmental stages in the process of acquiring respect for the Dolly embryo. ..
  3. Camosy C. Concern for our vulnerable prenatal and neonatal children: a brief reply to Giubilini and Minerva. J Med Ethics. 2013;39:296-8 pubmed publisher
    ..It concludes with an exhortation-especially to fellow pro-lifers-to have a different kind of discourse on these matters. ..
  4. Byrnes W, Austriaco N. Holism, determinism, and the developing embryo. Natl Cathol Bioeth Q. 2003;3:664-7 pubmed
  5. McCormick P. Re "Draw the line". Pharos Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Med Soc. 2004;67:50 pubmed
  6. Cioffi A. Reproductive and therapeutic cloning. Ethics Medics. 2002;27:1-3 pubmed
  7. Ahmad N. Assisted reproduction--Islamic views on the science of procreation. Eubios J Asian Int Bioeth. 2003;13:59-61 pubmed
    ..Some of the issues remain controversial and need detailed discussion before it can be deemed as appropriate and legible for use as guidelines in the development of the processes involved. ..
  8. Stewart P, Stuhmcke A. Legal pragmatism and the pre-birth continuum: an absence of unifying principle. J Law Med. 2007;15:272-95 pubmed
  9. Liebman M. Democracy and abortion. Linacre Q. 2005;72:331-7 pubmed
  10. Krones T, Schlüter E, Neuwohner E, El Ansari S, Wissner T, Richter G. What is the preimplantation embryo?. Soc Sci Med. 2006;63:1-20 pubmed
    ..field studies', which explore and compare the views of experts, patients and the general public on the beginning of human life and the status of the preimplantation embryo in Germany...
  11. Beckwith F. Potentials and burdens: a reply to Giubilini and Minerva. J Med Ethics. 2013;39:341-4 pubmed publisher
    ..The author critiques this case by pointing out (a) the metaphysical ambiguity of potential personhood and (b) why the appeal to burdens is irrelevant or unnecessary. ..
  12. Robertson J. Crossing the ethical chasm: embryo status and moral complicity. Am J Bioeth. 2002;2:33-4 pubmed
  13. Bole T. The person in secular and in Orthodox-Catholic bioethics. Christ Bioeth. 2000;6:85-112 pubmed
    ..This suggestion is confirmed by examination of the articles of Crosby, Glannon, Hoswepian, and Meador and Shuman. ..
  14. Sparrow R. Therapeutic cloning and reproductive liberty. J Med Philos. 2009;34:102-18 pubmed publisher
  15. Tollefsen C. Embryos, individuals, and persons: an argument against embryo creation and research. J Appl Philos. 2001;18:65-77 pubmed
    ..I then argue that such arguments against personhood are not rationally conclusive. The claim that the early embryos is not a human individual is not nearly as obvious as some assert. ..
  16. Tollefsen C. Abortion and the human animal. Christ Bioeth. 2004;10:105-16 pubmed
    ..Finally, I address Patrick Lee's claim that the evil of abortion involves "the moral deterioration that the act brings to those who are complicit in it, and to the culture that fosters it." ..
  17. Lee P. Embryonic human beings. J Contemp Health Law Policy. 2006;22:424-38 pubmed
  18. Alvarez Díaz J. [The status of the human embryo from a gradualistic perspective]. Gac Med Mex. 2007;143:267-77 pubmed
    Bioethics debates topics regarding the beginning and ending of human life. The beginning of human life includes when a human embryo reaches full human status. There are multiple and interesting issues surrounding human embryo status...
  19. Green R. Stem cell research: a target article collection: Part III--determining moral status. Am J Bioeth. 2002;2:20-30 pubmed
    ..After illustrating these two contentions, I consider some of the reasons why thinkers on the "right" and "left" of our bioethics debates have resisted or missed this basic insight. ..
  20. Kissling F. The place for individual conscience. J Med Ethics. 2001;27 Suppl 2:ii24-7 pubmed
    ..In conclusion, only the woman herself can make the abortion decision. ..
  21. Meehan M. Justice Blackmun and the little people. Hum Life Rev. 2004;30:86-128 pubmed
  22. Goodhart C. Embryo experiments. BMJ. 1988;297:782-3 pubmed
  23. Nelson T. Is the human zygote a person?. Linacre Q. 2005;72:281-93 pubmed
  24. Himma K. A dualist analysis of abortion: personhood and the concept of self qua experiential subject. J Med Ethics. 2005;31:48-55 pubmed
    ..iI make no attempt to determine what conditions are sufficient for moral personhood; for this reason, the relevant claim about personhood is purely negative. ..
  25. Germán Zurriaráin R. [The progressive legal vulnerability of embryonic human life in Spain: the law 35/1988 to 14/2006 and law 14/2007]. Cuad Bioet. 2009;20:155-81 pubmed
    ..These reasons would involve a review of the Spanish Legislation in this matter, in order that the human life is an ethical barrier and a fundamental to actual biomedical research. ..
  26. Raposo V, Osuna E. Embryo dignity: the status and juridical protection of the in vitro embryo. Med Law. 2007;26:737-46 pubmed
    ..The embryo's life is recognized as a constitutional value which deserves juridical protection, but not as a person. It only becomes a person with birth. ..
  27. Caulfield T, Sheremeta L, Daar A. Somatic cell nuclear transfer--how science outpaces the law. Nat Biotechnol. 2003;21:969-70 pubmed
  28. Kahler C. Taking care in defining the beginning of life. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2006;46:424; author reply 424, 426 pubmed
  29. Janoff A. Rights of the pregnant child vs. rights of the unborn under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Boston Univ Int Law J. 2004;22:163-88 pubmed
  30. Flamigni C. Science and biotechnology: attempts of reconciliation. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004;1034:101-9 pubmed
  31. Quinn K. The politics of embryonic discourse. Conn Law Rev. 2004;36:1163-9 pubmed
  32. Brown M. No ethical bypass of moral status in stem cell research. Bioethics. 2013;27:12-9 pubmed publisher
    ..Steps may be taken to address these complicity concerns, but in the final analysis there is no alternative to achieving clarity with respect to the moral status of the human embryo. ..
  33. Shea S. It's okay not to know. Acad Med. 2008;83:520 pubmed publisher
  34. Murphy T. The afterlife of embryonic persons: what a strange place heaven must be. Reprod Biomed Online. 2012;25:684-8 pubmed publisher
  35. Prieur M, Atkinson J, Hardingham L, Hill D, Kernaghan G, Miller D, et al. Stem cell research in a Catholic institution: yes or no?. Kennedy Inst Ethics J. 2006;16:73-98 pubmed
    ..It also offers tentative guidelines that could be used by a Catholic institution in implementing such research. ..
  36. Condic M, Condic S. Defining organisms by organization. Natl Cathol Bioeth Q. 2005;5:331-53 pubmed
  37. Bondolfi A. [Is it possible to answer the question about the beginning of human life?]. Ther Umsch. 2006;63:717-20 pubmed
    The question of the beginning of human life is specified in this article by explaining the different meanings of the expression "human life"...
  38. Strong C. Preembryo Personhood: an assessment of the President's Council arguments. Theor Med Bioeth. 2006;27:433-53 pubmed
    ..If the best arguments in support of the personhood of human preembryos have been presented by the Council, then there are no reasonable secular arguments in support of that view. ..
  39. Scaldo S. The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act: baby steps toward the recognition of life after birth. Nova Law Rev. 2002;26:485-510 pubmed
  40. Egan R, Hurlbut W. The burden of proof. Natl Cathol Bioeth Q. 2005;5:12-3, 19-22 pubmed
  41. George R, Lee P. Ethics of embryonic stem cells. N Engl J Med. 2004;351:1687-90; author reply 1687-90 pubmed
  42. Devolder K. Embryo deaths in reproduction and embryo research: a reply to Murphy's double effect argument. J Med Ethics. 2013;39:533-6 pubmed publisher
  43. McMahan J. Infanticide and moral consistency. J Med Ethics. 2013;39:273-80 pubmed publisher
    ..Any set of beliefs about the morality of abortion, infanticide and the killing of animals that is internally consistent and even minimally credible will therefore unavoidably contain some beliefs that are counterintuitive. ..
  44. Roden G. Roe v. Wade and the common law: denying the blessings of liberty to our posterity. Univ West Los Angel Law Rev. 2003;35:212-96 pubmed
  45. Zivotofsky A, Jotkowitz A. A Jewish response to the Vatican's new bioethical guidelines. Am J Bioeth. 2009;9:26-30 pubmed publisher
    ..These points of agreement and disagreement are discussed in detail in this article. ..
  46. Byrnes W. Holistic systems and "delayed hominization" are incompatible. Natl Cathol Bioeth Q. 2005;5:447-48; author reply 448 pubmed
  47. Marquis D. Strong's objections to the future of value account. J Med Ethics. 2011;37:384-8 pubmed publisher
    ..I suggest that both concepts can be clarified in ways that seem plausible and that makes them equivalent. Strong claims that better accounts of the wrongness of killing exist. I show that those alternative accounts are unsatisfactory. ..
  48. Dorscheidt J. Developments in legal and medical practice regarding the unborn child and the need to expand prenatal legal protection. Eur J Health Law. 2010;17:433-54 pubmed
  49. McMahan J. Causing disabled people to exist and causing people to be disabled. Ethics. 2005;116:77-99 pubmed
  50. Doerflinger R. Testimony on embryonic stem cell research. Origins. 2004;34:367-73 pubmed
  51. Gillon R. Is there a 'new ethics of abortion'?. J Med Ethics. 2001;27 Suppl 2:ii5-9 pubmed
  52. Quintavalle J, Hurlbut W. The many perils that lie ahead. Natl Cathol Bioeth Q. 2005;5:16-7, 19-22 pubmed
  53. Hewson B. Reproductive autonomy and the ethics of abortion. J Med Ethics. 2001;27 Suppl 2:ii10-4 pubmed
    ..This article suggests that a more inclusive ethics of abortion is required rather than a new ethics of abortion when "translating fetal life into law". ..